Maryn McKenna is a journalist and author who writes about domestic and global public health, infectious disease, medicine, and food policy, but it's OK with her if you just call her Scary Disease Girl, since almost everyone else does.
She has reported from inside a field hospital in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, a village on Thailand's west coast that was erased by the Indian Ocean tsunami, a CDC team investigating the anthrax-letter attacks on Capitol Hill, a graveyard within the Arctic Circle that held victims of the 1918 flu, a malaria hospital in Malawi, an isolation ward for multi-drug resistant TB in Vietnam and a polio-eradication team in India. She untangled birds from mist nets during the first US outbreaks of West Nile virus, triggered the first Congressional hearings on Gulf War Syndrome, and pried loose enough hidden history at a closed nuclear-weapons plant to help local residents win a nuclear-harm lawsuit against the US government.
She is the author of the newly published SUPERBUG: The Fatal Menace of MRSA (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2010), an investigation of the global epidemic of drug-resistant staph, and BEATING BACK THE DEVIL: On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service (FP/S&S, 2004), a narrative history of the CDC's disease detectives that was named a Top Science Book by Amazon and an Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association.
She writes for SELF, More, Health and other national magazines, and is a regular contributor to the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Previously, she was a staff reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Boston Herald, and the Cincinnati Enquirer, and a contributing writer at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy of the University of Minnesota.
She has a bachelor's from Georgetown University, a master's from Northwestern University, and has won numerous journalism awards. She has been a fellow with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the East-West Center of Honolulu, the Knight-Wallace Program of the University of Michigan, Harvard Medical School and the Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families at the University of Maryland. She teaches science writing in the U.S. and Asia.
She lives in Minneapolis and Atlanta, and occasionally in Maine and France, and almost always has latex gloves and a face-mask somewhere close by